On Friday 4 March 2016, the Community Hall was busy with 30 residents and partner organisations hearing what had been achieved and building on these strengths for the next plan due in August this year.
Jsan Shepherd outlined the many successes, with people sharing their own experiences of what has worked well and helped bring changes.
Here is Jsan’s full presentation:
The youth club has engaged lots of young people through a range of activities and active support from workers. The young people said “There is always stuff on. It cheers you up after a bad day.” And “Since it started there are less people hanging around at the shops and it’s really helped the community.”
The Mobile Fli Park has also been a great success. Nick and AK, the organisers, described how “The feeling from kids and parents is really positive, coming together to have a great time and getting involved. It’s something to do and gets people out and getting more exercise.”
Hearing from the two Primary Schools showed how important it is to have people who no only have great ideas but who help make them happen. Mel Lawson and Rachel Crowther, the head teachers from Ladywood and Dallimore, described how the Passport Project follows the children through their journey and encourages activity in school, in the community like planting bulbs and at home. “The Haka day linked to the rugby world cup and they all went on the field and learnt it.” “The Camp out involved 60 year 6 children from both schools, sleeping in tents under the stars, learning bush craft, eating camp food – and worms. It was a very cold night but that did not stop them getting up very early. They loved the star gazing. Camp Dallywood had the children making new friends from across the two schools and we are excited about the next one.” One child summed up: “This has encouraged me to do anything.”
Big Kirk Hallam is also passionate about supporting people who may be isolated or with additional needs. Laura told us about Art at the HeART, supporting people’s wellbeing through 1-1 and group sessions with an artist. While numbers are low, the impact has been high. With one older person, “It helped give the family some lovely memories of her last years of life. With two others we saw a real change in their sense of what they could achieve and gave them more focus to their day.” One person said “You’ve given me a purpose to living and I don’t have the same suicidal thoughts as before.
The Children’s Savings Club is also growing, with one boy having been very pleased at having saved £100 to buy Lego that he wanted. The girls at Ladywood also are the bankers, collecting the money and passing it to staff.
The Community Chest goes from strength to strength, with a new round just open. The presentations are becoming stronger, with one group of girls coming and presenting to the panel themselves. Great stories include 120 students and the cyclo cross and Dallimore students taking part in Chines New Year Celebrations: “The children had an absolutely brilliant night. They were amazing, with Year 6 boys dancing with ribbons and street performing.”
Community events and celebrations continue to play a key part in the plan with Big Kirk Hallam supporting 4 of these and hoping to help establish the Summer Fun Festival on the calendar with its popular mix of football tournament, skate park, climbing wall, trampoline, medals, trophies and stalls.
Big Kirk Hallam is proud of contributing to help make the area an even better place to live. Theft, robbery and anti-social behaviour is down. Community spirit and cohesion are up. One resident said of recent changes in Kirk Hallam that “It’s like someone has gone through and cleaned it all up.” But times are tough and getting tougher for many residents and as we look ahead, focus on quality of life remains central to our vision.
The plan for August 2016 – 18 will build on these successes and look to respond to new opportunities and challenges. Big Kirk Hallam hopes to find effective means to respond more to the needs of older residents, including through a dementia support programme coordinated by Community Concern Erewash. A food bank or co-op is also being explored given increasing levels of hardship. We are also exploring welcome signs as you drive into the area and flower beds. A Big Kirk Games is also being looked into, along with funding a youth shelter as part of the skatepark development which has the green light and funding secured.